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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Union Health Ministry has recently constituted a 16-member expert committee to review the pharmacy education regulation and restructure the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), the statutory body set up for the regulation of pharmacy education, profession and practice in the country. Chaired by Dr Y K Gupta, president of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jammu and Bhopal, the committee will review the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and will make recommendations for restructuring of the PCI. PCI is a statutory body governed by the provisions of the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and has been involved in regulation of pharmacy education, regulation of the pharmacy profession and pharmacy practices in the country. It is also vested with duties to prescribe minimum standard of education required for qualifying as a pharmacist, framing of education regulations prescribing the conditions to be fulfilled by the institutions seeking approval of the PCI for imparting education in pharmacy and to ensure uniform implementation of the educational standards throughout the country, among others.

The Union Health Ministry’s initiative is welcome as drastic changes are required in the Pharmacy Act, 1948 to meet global standards and creation of more employment opportunities for pharmacists. The Act has not been amended in the last 75 years with the consent of the Parliament except a few changes and rules were brought in by the council within the purview of the powers vested upon them. The minimum qualification required for a registered pharmacist in India should be made bachelor’s degree in pharmacy (B Pharm) on the lines of the developed countries. In the existing Act, the minimum qualification for registration as a pharmacist is diploma in pharmacy or D Pharm. Similarly, no pharmacist registration should be permitted in any part of India by a state pharmacy council or a tribunal on the basis of experience in dispensing medicines in pharmacies. Registration should be allowed only on achieving a graduation in pharmacy (B Pharm) from a recognized university and on the submission of the degree certificate. To strengthen the efficiency of the pharmacy council, the central council should have representatives from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and from the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC). Steps should be taken to hold the Pharmacy Exit Exam (PEE) which has to be made mandatory as a qualifying test for registration as a pharmacist. The examination should be conducted twice a year in order to admit more students. The purpose of this exam is to assess the knowledge and skills of pharmacists and ensure that they meet the minimum standards set by the PCI for the profession. Besides, the penalty for dispensing by unqualified pharmacists should be increased from the existing Rs. 1,000 to a minimum of Rs. 10,000 and the period of imprisonment for such contravention should be raised to two years from the existing six months. It is a fact that the Pharmacy Act, 1948 was passed with the limited objective of making better provision for the regulation of the pharmacy profession through the constitution of pharmacy councils. It served well when compounder training course was the most commonly prevalent pharmacy education. Now there is a major transformation in the sector. The Pharmacy Act and its nomenclature need revision. The Pharmacy Act, 1948 should be scraped and a new Act on the lines of the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 needs to be framed and can be known as the National Pharmacy Commission Act, 2023.


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D. Santhoshkumar May 14, 2023 10:47 PM
Please, do some changes in the doctor Of pharmacy course, permit some restrictions prescription rights mainly primary care, new act made ,
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